Hi, I’m Dwayne Fernandez, I am a double amputee, missing a few fingers on my
right, when I say double amputee.
I’ve got a bunch of different legs around here.
This is one of my old feet.
Um, but my day job is being a Diversity and Inclusion professional at DEPI,
And at night I play dungeon and dragons with kids with autism and also
And this is my stories about matching and
I have created as a double amputee.
I’ve created the tools that I need to use.
Um, these are flippers now as
regular humans, you basically sleep your foot in there
and they go into your feet, but on me, they go vertically, so my
entire leg slides right in and with the strap, I’m able to tie it
around my calf muscle and I’m able to flip.
Um, two of these, I get more efficiency out of flippers than
you would because your feet are angled mine,
I’m more like a seal in the water depending on the size of the flipper.
Um, the ocean fins, I can destroy a
25 m swim lane in like less than 15 seconds or something
And I’m currently a heavy guy, so the tool that we have,
they’re pretty cool, but with flippers.
Um, I literally asked the people going, “I need something to swim in the water” because,
um, your feet kind of give you a bit of that momentum.
I took your existing tools and all we did was really
chop off the end.
That’s all we did simple rebel flippers and added a few straps,
a bit of pressure, pressure absorption over there
and jump in the water and test it.
These things are light, the materials are durable, they don’t get rusty.
Uh and uh I can do lots of swimming.
I used to do a lot of swimming when I was younger.
Uh you said a few, I think I was um in New Zealand I
was training to be in the paralympics.
Um, I would have been the paralympics if it wasn’t for a paralympic, if it it wasn’t for the fact that it wasn’t a paralympic year.
So I had a lot of swimming background before, but
it’s been a while since I’ve done that swimming.
So I got some fins to now help me with that space.
I’ve got a similar version that our ocean friends that are much longer, kind of makes me
look like a seal in the water, which is lots of fun.
So, my buddy and I uh, Damien, um a double
amputee, he’s a wheelchair user, his nickname was wheels.
He, he lives in Erskineville and back in high
school and that feels like a long time ago.
We used to go and catch a train from Erskineville
to all the way up to, Woy Woy train station, his house, he had a
family house in Long Beach, which is in Woy Woy is
North somewhere, it’s Central Coast,
we’re two, we’re two proud disabled guys.
Um I’m in high school with him.
We finish off school on friday.
We’d run over to his place.
I’d have a big heavy bag in addition to my school bag.
He’d have a big heavy bag in addition to a school bag.
And we’re wheelchair users.
So he’s a wheelchair user.
I am walking on our legs.
We’ll make our way to Erskineville train station.
Now Erskineville train station has 45 steps from the
platform to the from the from the concourse of the platform.
So as a wheelchair user, proud people, um
he would not let anybody help him.
So he would literally drag his bag down the stairs.
He would end up with messy clothes.
I would walk beside him and he dragged his chair in his bag and
get ourselves all the way down to the platform.
We really hope that we’re on the right platform because sometimes a train will change.
So we’ll be back up the 45 across back down the other 45 stairs.
Erskineville train station has not yet improved.
It’s still it’s still in an inaccessible translation.
We’d get there and then jump on the train.
And when we get into the train, um It’s one of these trains,
the train to the city was pretty easy to catch.
No, there’s not much drama over there.
Mostly of these trains are pretty accessible.
But the train going to Central Coast, the old rattlers.
Those things don’t actually have, accessible places for people
with wheelchairs to sit.
And especially if you have a friend.
If you’re a person with one person in a wheelchair.
But if you have a friend, uh, you’re basically blocking the way. You have to pull
open these big heavy doors, get yourself into the train space.
You can’t enter the main area, which goes stairs, going up stairs, going down in a
little seating area.
I’m not going to leave him in the cold over there between these two doors.
I’m going to be with them.
So I’m gonna sit with him.
I’m usually sitting on my bag that I’ve brought or on the floor.
And so we’d catch the train to go up to Woy Woy and we’ll stop
and we read in everybody’s way and uh, we just sit there and talk.
So we look like outcast the entire way.
We got to our end location.
100% managed to make it Ettalong and then go out and fish and everything else.
But was their dignity in the journey?
Did Damien need to have to change his clothes after he got there.
Uh, did, do we need to go through all those additional barriers to get to that space?
These are questions for infrastructure.
And yeah, so that’s, that’s a mismatch/story.
Some of it is being fixed.
But as you can tell, those are big assets.
We’re talking about, right?
So someone making a decision, 20 plus stairs, 20
plus things away impacts two guys that want to go on a fishing trip.